A few players need to come good with the bat, and do South Africa still desperately need a seaming all-rounder. Kobus Pretorius picks five talking points after the loss against Bangladesh.
1. Glaring inconsistency
There are a few individuals in the South African batting order who’s inconsistency is starting to become a problem. The two main culprits are Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy. De Kock has been out of form since last year and his poor performances during the World Cup put the team under unnecessary pressure. Duminy also features too infrequently, especially when the Proteas need him to come to the party at the end of an innings. Without AB de Villiers in the team too much is being expected from Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla.
2. A timely knock
Farhaan Behardien would have been relieved that he came out of South Africa’s seven-wicket loss with some runs under his belt. He and Faf du Plessis were the only two batsmen who showed any real resistance to the Bangladesh bowling attack. The importance of that 36 runs cannot be overstated, as Behardien is still trying to establish himself as a regular member of the starting XI. Every opportunity counts, and if he gets another chance in the third ODI it’s important he grabs it with both hands. The number seven batting spot is the most tightly contested vacancy in the one-day side which means there isn’t a shortage of candidates to take your place if you don’t perform.
3. Rabada’s time is now
Record bowling figures on debut, followed by two wickets in a seven-wicket defeat, Kagiso Rabada has made a statement of intent on this tour. He is still raw, but undoubtedly talented and should be a mainstay in the ODI setup. He has showed great promise on difficult wickets in the subcontinent and must be allowed to further develop as an international bowler when New Zealand visit South Africa in August. It may be too soon for Test cricket, but that opportunity will come and when it does he will have gained valuable international experience in the 50-over format.
4. Has Chris Morris done enough?
That is the question the player will be asking himself ahead of Wednesday’s third and final game. Morne Morkel is expected to get a run ahead of the Test series and Morris could well be the one who has to make room. Morris took 2-32 in 6.3 overs in the first ODI, but failed to get a wicket on Sunday and was hugely expensive in his three overs, going for 29 runs. Morris holds some value as an all-rounder, but it’s mainly as a bowler that he will be judged. The batting seems to be a added bonus, for now.
5. Do we still need a seaming all-rounder?
Morris, David Wiese, Ryan McLaren and Wayne Parnell are the candidates here, but with JP Duminy fast becoming a genuine all-rounder, the need for a fifth (sixth if you count Duminy) bowler in ODI cricket has become less, especially on subcontinent conditions which is usually more spin friendly. Even though Duminy is struggling with the bat, he can still contribute with the ball and as a senior player it would take a lot of failures for the selectors to ever drop him. His presence means South Africa have three seamers and two spinners. Having another all-rounder at seven like Wiese or McLaren might be seen as a bonus for now, but only if Duminy continues to make important contributions with ball in hand.